Last month, I got the news that my recently released YA novel, LEISHA’S SONG, received the bronze medal in the YA mystery category from the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. The Moonbeam Awards are about “Celebrating Youthful Curiosity, Discovery and Learning Through Books and Reading.” To say that I was thrilled is the understatement of the year! I’ve written before about the trials and tribulations of finding a publishing home for this novel. My former agent and publisher were not interested in considering the book since I was a Caucasian author writing about a young person of color. I was so discouraged that I even paid another editor I’d worked with $200 to take a look at it and let me know her opinion. She told me it wasn’t very good—not nearly layered enough, the romance was too sweet, etc. She thought I should put it in a drawer and forget it.
But here’s the thing. I loved this story and these characters, and I couldn’t bear to stick this book in a drawer. I believed in my story, even if I was getting a lot of messages that my belief was misplaced.
Thank goodness I didn’t give up. I’ve been gratified by the positive response to the novel and am so grateful to my publisher, Fire and Ice, for taking a chance on it.
I’m not sure about my takeaway message, unless it’s that sometimes we writers have to persevere and believe in the value of our own work, despite the negative feedback we invariably encounter. This can be a brutal business but writing books that touch readers’ hearts makes it all so worthwhile.
Feeling mighty grateful.